School can be challenging at times for children. Aside from rigorous academics and the pressure of scoring well in class, many students face peer pressure from their classmates. There’s a thin line between peer pressure and bullying although they seem quite similar. Bullying is when a person harrasses another person and threatens them with physical/emotional harm. This can be from an adult to a student, older children to younger, etc. Whereas peer pressure is when one’s own peers or children of the same age group bully them into trying new activities or to act a certain way.
Peer pressure usually has an end goal whereas bullying may just be to cause harm or discomfort to the victim. For example, bullying is when a single student or a group of students tease someone by calling them names, hitting them, etc. Peer pressure is when a group of students force their classmate to try a harmful activity. If the victim does not ‘give in’ to the bully’s requests, peer pressure may ultimately lead to bullying.
Peer pressure usually occurs in adolescents because they want to seem ‘cool’ or imitate the ‘popular’ group at school. It may involve trying drugs, alcohol, dressing a certain way, pursuing an illegal activity, etc. We cannot really point out an exact reason as to why some students fall victim to peer pressure as every child is different. Some of the most common reasons are: Avoiding embarrassment in front of classmates, wanting to be liked, fear of being rejected, boosting their self-esteem, wanting control over their own decisions, or even just to experiment and try out new things.
As a teenager, one cannot really avoid having to face bullies or peer pressure, but here are some ways parents and students can deal with the situation effectively:
- Have open conversations with your child– Many times, your child is afraid to seek advice from you as the topic they wish to discuss is uncomfortable. Bring up these topics during a dinnertime conversation and discuss your views on it. Make it clear to them that some activities, although they might sound exciting are extremely harmful for health or are simply not age appropriate. For example, one can bring up the topic of wearing makeup to school and explain how although it may look nice, it ultimately affects one’s skin. Do not use phrases such as ‘I forbid you from trying this’ or You’re not allowed to do this’. Instead explain to them the consequences of actions and allow them to make their own decisions. This strengthens their own principals and makes them less likely to fall prey to peer pressure.
- Be firm with your beliefs- As a teenager it’s tough to keep up with academics at school as well as be accepted into a friends group. Especially as a new student, making new friends can be quite intimidating and so when they pressure you into trying something dangerous, it is only natural that you may want to say yes. For example: As a new student at school, some of your classmates may pressure you into skipping a class. Even though you know it is wrong to skip classes you may feel obliged to say yes in order to feel accepted into the group. In situations like these, be firm with your beliefs of what is correct and what is wrong. Explain to your classmates that you don’t wish to get into trouble and that you’d really like to attend the class. Some of them may make fun of you and tease you for not being ‘brave’ enough. Don’t take them too seriously and simply laugh it off. Remember, your true friends are those who respect your decisions.
- Build confidence– In many instances, children are victims of peer pressure simply because they want to be able to make their own decisions. Build your child’s self confidence by appreciating them everytime they make the right decision and even by generally boosting their self esteem. This gives them a sense of responsibility and makes them less likely to make decisions that may harm them.
With these 3 tips, you can be sure of dealing with bullies and peer pressure effectively. While enrolling your child in a new school, making sure the child has a holistic development is important. New Horizon Gurukul – the best CBSE school in Bangalore and one among the top 10 CBSE schools in Bangalore is the perfect space for children to follow their dreams, explore, learn and unlearn to the best of their ability.
Trained teachers look after every aspect and ensure that each child is taught, treated and managed differently while maintaining a healthy teacher-student relationship. New Horizon Gurukul (NHG) is every parent’s first choice while looking for CBSE school admission in Bangalore. Admissions are now OPEN.